Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was in Myrtle Beach earlier this week to push an initiative for oil and gas drilling off the coast of South Carolina.
Gingrich spoke at a forum of oil and gas industry representatives who want Congress to allow exploratory drilling and development of possible offshore oil and gas resources.
One of the issues at the forefront of talks about oil and gas drilling off the U.S. coast is the number of high paying jobs such economic activity will bring to the area.
If those types of jobs would become available, it would certainly help the Horry County area which consistently ranks dead last in average worker income among the 335 largest counties in the nation.
The irony here is that wage levels in Horry County have been consistently depressed because of the tourism industry. It’s just over 50 years ago that Horry County business leaders met with then Sen. Strom Thurmond to stop plans for extending I-20 to the coast. They worried an interstate would bring industrial development that would rob them of low wage workers in the hotels, restaurants and tobacco fields in the county.